Jake Forbes's Reviews > Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth
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May 14, 12

Read in May, 2012

Roth's universe is rooted in the classic dystopian tradition; her splintered civilization of ideologues wouldn't be out of place in a classic Asimov's anthology or an episode of classic Trek. The variations on mind-control, with colorful injections and shadowy software not-so-subtly shaping the way humanity bahaves, invokes the Manchurian Candidate, Brave New World and other genre classics. I was ready to lose myself in this world -- the only problem is, in execution, in execution it's more on the level of that episode of GI Joe where Shipwreck deals with everyone around him turning into mindless tools for Cobra. The logic falls apart. It's Saturday morning cartoon sci-fi. What would work for a short story can't hold up under the scrutiny of a trilogy of novels.

Okay, but this is a YA novel, so cut it some slack, right? I probably could have forgiven the increasingly corny setting if the characters were exceptional. Under the lense of teenage hormones, the dystopian premise starts to make more sense. Choosing a faction and the ensuing rites of passage is a perfect metaphor for the teenage of experience. It's not subtle, but it works. On a human level, however, these particular teens just aren't engaging me. Between heroine Tris' embracing her inner-anger and the how-can-mr.perfect-like-me-when-he's-mean-to-me? romance, there aren't a lot of risks taken in the characterization department.

Anyway, griping aside, I still bought volume 2 as soon as I finished. I blame the 3 chapter teaser in the back -- now I have to finish.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Scott Tris doesn't have a personality and the romance reads like something a 15 year old with a "bad boy" complex would dream up.

Boooooo!


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